The idea we are now living a “post truth” era has become something of an accepted truism itself, and D’Ancona’s book is one of several to explore this phenomenon.
Let’s start by saying this is a very good book and well worth a read. I haven’t read all of the other ‘post-truth’ books (yet) but this is certainly one I’d recommend.
As you may have guessed, there is a “but” coming, or to be more precise several “buts” which I hope will be seen as constructive criticisms. Continue reading “REVIEW: Post Truth – the new war on truth and how to fight back. Matthew D’Ancona”
What Makes People Tick?
Chris Rose, Matador, 2011
In “Values Modes” theory there are three ‘worlds’ of Settlers, Propsectors and Pioneers who are separated by different ‘values’:
- Pioneers – need to connect actions with values, explore ideas, experiment. Networking, interests, ethics, innovation.
- Prospectors – need for success, esteem of others then self-esteem,. Acquire and display symbols of success. Look good and have fun.
- Settlers – need for security, safety, identity, belonging. Keep things small, known, controllable, and avoid risk.
(summary on page 23). Continue reading “REVIEW; What Makes People Tick?”
Public Policy Writing That Matters
John Hopkins University Press 2017
David Chrisinger works as an academic and as a “communications specialist at the US Government Accountability Office”. And it matters, especially to a UK audience.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is roughly the equivalent of the UKs National Audit Office (NAO – and indeed it used to be called the Government Audit Office). But there is one very big difference between the NAO and the GAO – the NAO is limited, by law, to only examine the implementation of policy and the achievement of propriety and value for money. The GAO, by contrast, is free to challenge policy itself.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Public Policy Writing That Matters”
BREXIT – What The Hell Happens Now? Ian Dunt. Canbury Press. 2016
On June 23rd 2016 British voters delivered a slim majority (52/48) in an advisory Referendum on whether the UK should remain or leave the EU.
What happened immediately afterwards was even more shocking than the actual result (which not even the ‘Leave’ camp had expected). British politics suddenly did a screeching 180 degree U-turn on decades of commitment by both Conservatives and Labour to the EU – “Brexit means Brexit”. The Referendum was transmuted to unchallengeable Holy Writ – the people had spoken.
The problem is, as Ian Dunt’s book admirably sets out, “the people” and that includes most of our politicians, had no real idea of what had just happened and what the consequences would be. Dunt’s book tries to educate us all, in eye-opening and eye-watering detail.
I should say at this point I rarely read non-fiction books from cover to cover. I don’t have the time – as an academic you quickly learn to skim, dip and dive into books to gut them for what’s essential. I read this, all of it.
There is way too much in the book to review fully so I’ll just highlight what were the key “take-aways” (as we now say) for me. Continue reading “REVIEW: The many ways in which Brexit can become Wrexit for Britain”
The Silo Effect – why putting everything in its place isn’t such a bright idea.
Gillian Tett, Little, Brown. 2015 £20.00
This is in many ways a good book, especially for people who have never come across or thought about the problems of large hierarchical organizations (private or public) and even for those of us who have.
Tett is an accomplished journalist, US editor of the FT and has a PhD in Anthropology.
Tett begins with three main tales of how ‘silos’ – hierarchical constructed compartments within or between organisations – can cause enormous problems (chapters 2, 3 and 4).
She then moves on to four chapters examining case stories of how silos can be ‘busted’.
All of this is highly entertaining and enlightening – as long as you know nothing about the subject to start with. Then you get really frustrated by Tett’s own personal ‘silos’. Continue reading “The Silo in “The Silo Effect””
Norman Geras died today. Many people will never have heard of a retired politics professor from Manchester, who wrote books on obscure German revolutionaries (Rosa Luxemburg) or human nature in Marx. Some may have seen his more recent “NormBlog” or maybe even heard about his support for theIraq war. But Norman’s influence has been profound on many people, including me. I met Norman back in the early 1970s when I joined the International Marxist Group (IMG), the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International. The Manchester branch of the IMG was a revelation to a working class boy from Barrow – full of powerful intellects like Norman and Ian Gough, and teeming with debate and ideas. I haven’t seen Norman in many years, although we did exchange some emails when I came back to Manchester a few years ago. He’d retired by then and was writing Normblog and I was busy with my academic and domestic life, with a new son to look after. We said we should meet up, but it never happened. When I found out Norman had died this morning my first reaction was to find my copy of one of his books, from 1983. Here’s why: Continue reading “Norman Geras: For Human Nature”